Christmas 2020

Imagine waking up Christmas morning outside in the cold. There’s no tree. No lights. No decorations. There’s not even a pillow for your head. This was the reality of over 7,000 men and women in the state of Tennessee alone. We, The HoldToHope Family, have been blessed; we have never had to know what that was like. We have always had a roof over our heads, a nice warm bed to sleep in, and a comfy pillow under our heads.

Often times, we have been blessed more than we realize. Christmas morning, we wake up, go downstairs, read the Christmas story, eat some local beef and heavy cake (Caymanian Tradition), open our presents, and enjoy our day just lounging around. It’s so easy to forget that there are 1,000s of people in our state alone that are hungry and cold at Christmas time. So, we decided to change tradition just a bit in Christmas 2020.

We still enjoyed our local beef and heavy cake. We still enjoyed our presents, but this year instead of staying home all day, we went out looking for the homeless to feed. This Christmas, we cooked 12 dinners for the homeless and gave out 12 Christmas presents. We filled the presents with an emergency thermal blanket, hand warmers, deodorant, hand sanitizer, lotion, and other little necessities that we often take for granted. We also placed a warm jacket in the bags for those whom we saw every Sunday and knew their sizes, as well as an apple, an orange, and a few candies and basic groceries to hopefully brighten their day.

One of the men that we made plans to meet on Christmas Day never showed. We went back and checked three or four times, and then we decided to go look for him. After a little while of looking, we couldn’t find him and didn’t want the food to get cold, so we went to deliver the food to the other homeless men and women that we made plans with. On our way to feeding them, we passed a guy that I knew looked familiar, and as he saw us, he stopped and turned around and started walking towards us, so my Dad pulled over.

It was one of our regular homeless men that we feed every Sunday. He was on his way to the store, but when he saw my mom in the car, keep in mind we just traded in our old car, and he hadn’t seen the new car we were in, he turned around and started walking back towards his camp because he knew we were coming. He didn’t know what kind of car we were driving, he didn’t know what time we were coming, but he kept an eye out for us.

There are three kinds of people in the world: The one that never shows up, the one that keeps his eye out for when Jesus is coming back, and the one that gets distracted but still keeps his heart open for help. Even though he was on his way to the store (and keep in mind he was almost there), he stopped and quickly turned around because he knew that we were coming to see him. Jesus is coming back soon. We don’t know when, but He promised that there would be signs so that we wouldn’t be caught completely unaware.

We had made plans with another guy. He said he really wanted a Christmas Dinner. He even told us where to find him. Christmas Day came, we went to where he said he would be, and he wasn’t there. We called out to him. We went back several times throughout the day, and he never showed. He’ll never know that he missed out on a great Christmas dinner and a Christmas present with his name on it.

We later found the guy we had made plans with. He was on the other side of town, holding up a sign that he was homeless and hungry. When we saw him, he made excuses on why he wasn’t there, but he was grateful when he saw the food. All he could say was, ‘Thank you! I can’t believe you found me!’ When he saw the present, he was ecstatic. When we gave it to him, and he saw that his name was on it, he got a little emotional. He didn’t realize that we cared that much about him. Even though we’re not always where we need to be, God still comes looking for us. He comes looking for His children because He loves us. He knows we’re hungry and cold, so He comes to bring us food and clothing, but His food and His clothing last forever.

Before 2020 ends and 2021 begins, figure out which of the three types of persons you are and which type of person you want to be because Jesus is coming back soon. When He returns, will you be ready? Or will you be lost?

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